Courtney Glazer, Ph.D.

In Fall 1999, I jumped right into doctoral work with my first research class and found a nice fit with the research paradigm presented there. During the class I worked on qualitative research in the constructivist paradigm using naturalistic inquiry methods. We began investigating paradigms in our first paper about the nature of reality. During my actual research study I was supported generously by professor, classmates, and peer debriefing group alike. I was pleased with my final paper, Teacher to Teacher Communication and Conceptions of Teaching: A First Naturalistic Inquiry.

Another first class in my doctoral work was the required, Instructional Systems Design. This class was a challenge for me in one major way - it was steeped in the behaviorist theory of learning and required that as instructional designers, we design according to this theory. I had already both studied behaviorism and designed instruction according to this theory, not to mention the fact that I disagree with it as capable of providing a powerful learning experience. Yet, here I was faced with an assignment to do what I had done in the past and found distasteful. So, in order to keep myself engaged and to challenge myself, I adapted the Dick and Carey model of instruction to create a constructivist learning situation to get student teachers to think about different teachers' conceptions of learning and how those drive their practice. The result was A Workshop in Conceptions of Teaching.

In Spring 2000, I took the followup course to Instructional Systems Design, Advanced Instructional Systems Design. In AISD, we examined instructional design from a bit more of a constructivist perspective. Our acitivities in this class ranged from creating requests for proposals for imaginary projects (thank you Jan for your inspiration and congrats on getting non-imaginary funding), developing imaginary designs to respond to the imaginary RFP's, and creating, taking, and grading quality test questions covering the material in our text. By far the most fun part of this class was working with three very talented women, Christie Jester, Kathy Leopold, and Jan McSorley as a part of Four Tired Chicks, Inc. FTC, Inc. developed the Web Wilderness Survival Kit, a web-based guide which aims to teach new attitudes toward having a web presence for teachers. This guide was aimed at the teachers who either are interested but don't know what to include on a web site or teachers who have not yet realized the value that a teacher's web presence can add to their students' learning. As design "chicks" we worked hard to document our process.

Amid all this instructional design and research methods, I also ventured into the practical world of issues facing teachers in the classroom, namely Literacy and Culture issues. In this class I learned both the theoretical and practical and welcomed the perspective of current classroom teachers who were in the class. Over the course of the semester, I was able to engage with the readings through two reflection papers - one centering on a number of different authors and the other focusing in on Maxine Greene's The Dialectic of Freedom. As a final project for this class, I wrote a research paper titled The Emergence of a New Digital Divide: A Critical Look at Integrated Learning Systems.

The summer following my first year in Austin, I took Curriculum Theory. This course served a number of purposes for me: filling a program requirement, preparing me for comprehensive exams, and letting me work with Anna Rudolph and two of the Four Tired Chicks (see above). I feel like I got a good basic understanding of the different schools of thought with regard to curriculum and found that I liked and related strongly to the way Bobbitt turned curriculum on its head becoming more life skills oriented. Our major project for the class was to write a "currere" paper. This paper supported the idea that curriculum could be the sum total of experiences of an individual, all of which lead to learning. In the paper we were asked to dig deep and examine our lives and our journeys to become teachers. We also created an aesthetic representation of our work in an attempt to convey additional nuances not covered in the paper. Feel free to read the words from my not-so-sub-conscious and to check out a picture of the birdhouse I made.

To begin my second year of doctoral work, I took Research Design and Analysis. This course, while required, served as a review of concepts I have learned thus far. We covered everything from statistical analysis to quantitative research methods and the difference between postitivists and post-positivists. My work in this class consisted of six reviews of research designs from recently published work and a research proposal.

I jumped over to the English department to take Minds, Texts, and Technology from Peg Syverson. This felt like the kind of grad course I had imagined before beginning my graduate work - a small seminar of 7 fascinating colleagues. The course itself was awesome (with a monumental reading list) and brought me back to the cognitive science that I was working with at Stanford. I was able to learn tremendous amounts and know that I only scratched the surface of the possible understandings from these works. I tracked my learning through my personal Online Learning Record. For more information about this type of portfolio assessment, please consult Peg's homepage. During class I shared a book report on Information Ecologies by Nardi and O'Day and completed research on the relationship between emotion and cognition.

My final fall course was a directed research supervised by Judi Harris. This research was a follow-up to work completed previously by Judi, Lynda Abbott, and myself regarding the nature of teacher reflection. Our previous research resulted in a process for collaborative teacher reflection and my directed research conducted a small scale test of the process.

During the spring I engaged in another small seminar class. This one was the Philosophy of Social Science with Frank Richardson. Frank had us examining the philosophical underpinnings of research in education and looking particularly at hermeneutics. Ultimately we all came to accept that our work will never be value-free or even value-neutral.

The spring also brought another course outside of the School of Education. This time I crossed campus to the School of Communication to take Communicaiton, Cognition, and Emotion with Anita Vangelisti. My colleagues in this course gave me enormous insight into both communication and emotion, as well as some feedback into the beginnings of my dissertation research. For my project in the course I researched the nature of emotion in an online graduate course.

My final course in spring 2001 was the Instructional Technology Doctoral Seminar with Judi Harris. This course helped me to express my initial focus for my dissertation research, develop a literature review on this focus, and to work with my colleagues to develop a resource to help us and future IT doctoral students prepare for comprehensive exams. My initial focus considered my past experiences and how they have led me to my current research on distributed emotion. My literature review synthesizes and analyzes the topics of communication, emotion, cognition, and education. At the end of this course I completed a self-reflection about my experiences, and, for a change, I really enjoyed writing this reflection paper.